You've seen forests, and you've seen lakes. But when you see one inside the other, things start to feel pretty eerie. That's the essence of Kaindy Lake in Saty, Kazakhstan. A landslide a century ago created the lake atop a spruce forest — leading to some bizarre scenery.
Trees Shade the Depths
In 1911, an earthquake ripped through the Tian Shan Mountains, causing a large landslide that blocked a gorge and formed a natural dam. Over the course of time, rainfall filled the area, submerging the forest of spruce trees and forming 1,300-foot (400-meter) long Kaindy Lake. Today, the spruce trees are dead, their roots drowned deep beneath the water's surface, but their top halves tower over the water's in an even speckling that looks a bit like ghostly ships' masts or giant spears. The eeriness is made all the more palpable when a light fog is cast over the water or when the lake is frozen over in the dead of winter when the trees have transitioned from navigational beacons to something for fishermen to lean on.
The most striking view of this forest is under the water. There, the tree trunks have resisted decomposition, leaving perfectly preserved needles on their branches even after all this time. This interesting feature is thanks to the lake's frigid temperatures, which rarely exceed 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius), even in summertime. Luckily, you don't need to take a dip to catch a glimpse of this marvel — the water is so clear that you can see far down into its depths from safety on the shore.
Ice Ice Baby
If you do find yourself at Kaindy in the winter, though, know that the lake freezes over and its icy waters become popular for trout fishing and ice diving. Adventurous travelers and locals choose ice fishing for a glimpse of Kaindy's surreal landscape from under the frozen, crystal-clear waters.
Surprisingly, this unique lake sees few visitors. Although located close to Almaty, the country's largest city of 1.5 million people, Kaindy is overshadowed by the more famous and nearby Bolshoe Almatinskoe Lake and the Kolsay Lakes, which are easier to access. Located in a canyon off a dirt road, accessing Kaindy requires a utility vehicle designed for rough terrain, but it's not impossible.
Whether you plan to visit this lake less-traveled in the summer or the winter, you're bound to be stunned by an idyllic scene like no other. Personally, we'd prefer enjoying Kaindy's beauty from above the ice, but to each his own.